TRUMAN, Harry S. (1884-1972), President. Archive of letters from Harry S. Truman to Senator Carl Hatch, 1940-1948, consisting of: 10 TLS from Truman to Hatch, nine as president, signed ''Harry S. Truman'' or ''Harry''; 2 printed documents, one inscribed by Truman; 1 carbon of TL from Hatch to Truman. Together 13 items, 4tos, U.S. Senate and White House stationery.
TRUMAN, Harry S. (1884-1972), President. Archive of letters from Harry S. Truman to Senator Carl Hatch, 1940-1948, consisting of: 10 TLS from Truman to Hatch, nine as president, signed "Harry S. Truman" or "Harry"; 2 printed documents, one inscribed by Truman; 1 carbon of TL from Hatch to Truman. Together 13 items, 4tos, U.S. Senate and White House stationery.
TRUMAN DISTRUSTS MILITARY OBSERVERS OF A-BOMB TESTS
This fascinating series of Presidential letters shows Harry Truman's unesasiness about the military, and atomic bomb testing, in the early Cold War. In the spring of 1946, the Navy wanted to conduct a round of tests off the Bikini Atoll, dubbed Operations Crossroads, to measure the effect of nuclear blasts on ships at sea. Truman, initially fearful of the diplomatic repercussions of the exercise, postponed them. He decided to proceed in July, but wanted a trustworthy pair of eyes to observe. He chose his old Senate friend Carl Hatch (1889-1963). A fellow "freshman" with Truman in the Senate class of 1934, Hatch also served on Truman's Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program in 1941, the famous "Truman Committee." A page from the Congressional Record, printing Truman's presentation of his Committee's report to the Senate, is included in the archive (inscribed "To Carl Hatch with sincere appreciation of his judgement and good advice always, Harry S. Truman").
On 1 April 1946 Hatch thanks Truman for selecting him as a member of the President's Evaluation Commission for the test, and Truman replies on 3 April: "I know you will do an objective job of observing and I also know that I can depend on facts when you tell me the results." Truman did not feel the same way about his military advisors, who had their own Evaluation Board to report on the test. Truman makes this damning comment in his 9 July letter: "I do appreciate most highly your willingness to go to all the inconvenience to witness this test but I felt, if you were there, I'd get a truthful report on the situation. I am looking forward to a conversation with you when you get back." Hatch spoke with Truman after the test, and evidently helped the President draft the administration's press statement: "It was a pleasure to talk with you the other day," Truman writes on 8 August, "before I left for Independence and we finally got the publicity arranged so that the 'keep out of war' part was emphasized. I appreciated very much your report and I have had the privilege of seeing the pictures of the second explosion." On 16 August Truman looks forward to a face-to-face meeting once he gets back from his August vacation: "the first thing I'd like to do would be to see you and discuss the Bikini tests." In early September the two men meet, and Hatch brings along a gift to the President from the King of Bikini, which Truman acknowledges in his 5 September letter: "I am sending him a personal letter thanking him for the gift."
The last two pieces in the archive deal with non-atomic matters: Truman's 23 June 1947 letter denounces "the incomprehensible Taft-Hartley Bill," and rejects press reports that "no effort had been made to read the Bill or to study it." In November 1948 he acknowledges Hatch's congratulatory message following his upset election victory: "I am eternally grateful to you for your contribution to the Dem. Committee." Truman named Hatch to the Federal bench in New Mexico in 1949, where he served until his death in 1963. (13)